Health & Nutrition
Although we realize this can be a challenge, for the safety of other students with allergies in our care, we will not allow foods from home. We do eat every 2-3 hours starting with breakfast and leading to snacks and lunch throughout the day. If your child has not eaten offered foods over a short period of time, we will offer a healthy alternative to help satisfy hunger and fill the tummy. Typically, children tend to at least try foods in our program because we sit together as a group. We refer to this as “Family Style Dining”. Children who see other friends eating the served foods are often curious and encouraged by friends eating to also try foods themselves. Teeny “No Thank You Bites” are also encouraged to help choosey eaters to try new foods.
We take food allergies seriously. HILC will provide substitute food products so that your child will avoid any recorded and doctor diagnosed allergens. We would keep documentation in their file describing allergies and discuss with you the strategies and products that have best served your child’s needs for replacement food choices. Foods will be prepared separately and served individually. We welcome phones calls, e-mails or face to face discussions for any concerns or questions to support your child’s dietary needs and well-being.
We would respectfully honor your choices and eliminate meats products for your child and substitute those elements with appropriate proteins such as cheese, beans, etc. Nuts are unfortunately not a replacement option at our centers. We practice safety for our students who have nut allergies by having a nut free facility.
At Heartfelt, children have access to water at any time during their day. We ask that you provide a labeled water bottle to remain at the center. Our teachers wash and fill them with fresh water daily. There are dedicated spots in their classrooms where these bottles can be accessed at their leisure. In addition, both milk and water are offered daily with meals and snacks.
We buy our milk directly from Cook’s Dairy Farm. This is a local farm that provides us fresh milk every week. It goes through all the necessary processes to provide a quality product that is high in standard and could be considered close but however at this time is not labeled “organic”.
We welcome the opportunity for your child to share in the celebration of birthdays. It is our best intensions to keep all children in our care and your child’s classroom safe, so we ask that you pre-arrange treats with the Food Service staff at your center. All treats must have all ingredients listed and checked by food staff before going into your child’s classroom. This is to control unnecessary exposure to allergens and to ensure a fun time by all.
HILC does allow children in our school-age programs to bring their own lunches. Please note, there is a list of acceptable foods that may be packed to assure the various food groups are present such as a protein, fruit or vegetables. This list is included in our School-age Welcome packet *(and can be accessed on line in our parent resources section.) Lunches may be kept in our refrigerator if needed and again for the safety of our students, all lunches will be checked for any ingredients that may cause allergic reactions. Children are always welcome and have the option to also eat any menu foods provided to the classroom in addition to your child’s packed lunch.
**NOTE: will this be listed in our parent resources—would be a good idea to include
The CACFP food program is a federally funded program. The program’s main goal is to improve and maintain the health and Nutritional status of children in care while promoting the development of good eating habits. This program provides partial reimbursement of foods purchased to provide those nutritionally balanced meals to our students. To ensure that healthy meals are provided, HILC follows the guidelines of the CACFP program through supplying the appropriate components that defines a balanced snack or meal and meets required serving portions. Our Menu’s are planned and prepared to provided whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables as well as much needed proteins and dairy in support of this program and the best interest of children’s development. If you’d like more information, please visit https://www.michigan.gov/mde
Our menus are changed quarterly or better defined as with each season. This is to take full advantage of peak times of the availability of the freshest foods of each season. Our Spring and Summer menus reflect more berries, melons and fresh citrus and incorporates sandwiches and pasta salads that match well to warm days. Apples with sun-butter dip and Mediterranean quinoa salad are some of our students’ favorites. Our Fall and Winter month foods concentrate on providing baked hearty meals, homemade baked goods, soups and cooked dips with graham crackers to warm the soul. Sweet potato and Apple pie dip and handmade scones are featured during these months. Menus are posted in various key areas at your center and is also available on our web-site. If you have any suggestions for new recipes, family favorites or new foods, our food service staff would love to listen.
Heartfelt Impressions believes that our menu is an extension of our children’s learning and discovery of healthy choices. We utilize our sharing of mealtimes between students and teachers to promote great eating habits. This sharing and sitting all together at the same table is Family style dining. Teachers model and demonstrate how we share a meal together. Children help prepare the tables and assist in passing foods and serving themselves and others while using language skills and table manners. Wonderful memories are created sitting together. Additionally, it extends our learning through introducing and discussing new foods, developing self-help skills as well as building on social interactions that take place during our Family Style Dining Experiences.